News, Research & Development

Norway to fund eight new Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME)

The Research Council of Norway has granted funding to eight new Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME). Each new centre is guaranteed an annual allocation of NOK 15‒25 million for up to eight years.

The eight new FME centres will start up in 2017. The centres will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Norway and internationally, utilise energy more efficiently, and increase the production of renewable energy. Another important task for the centres is to disseminate the results of their research and contribute to a knowledge-based debate on environment-friendly energy.

The FME centres span the areas of hydropower, smart grids, energy efficiency in trade and industry, environment-friendly transport, CO2 management (CCS), solar cells, biofuels and zero-emission urban zones.

The total annual allocations from the Research Council to the FME centres will be roughly NOK 160 million.




The FME scheme is a long-term initiative designed to generate solutions to climate- and energy-related challenges and promote industrial development. The centres comprise dynamic research groups and a large number of user partners from trade and industry and the public sector. The user partners will take active part in the centres’ management, financing and research activities. The FME scheme is administered by the Research Council.

“The FME scheme enhances and further develops cooperation on environment-friendly energy between outstanding research environments, industrial actors and the public administration,” says Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council of Norway. “The stable financial framework and long-term perspective for each centre provide greater opportunity to achieve valuable results in the field of energy and climate research – results that can also be applied in trade and industry for added value. The FME centres must deliver scientific results of a high international standard.”

The centres were selected on the basis of scientific merit, potential for innovation and value creation, and the extent to which they fulfil government targets relating to energy and greenhouse gas emissions.




In Norway’s National Strategy for Research, Development, Demonstration and Commercialisation of New Energy Technology (Energi21), research on hydropower and flexible energy systems is given highest priority. Now, an FME centre for each of these research fields will be established. Centres focused on other priority areas such as solar energy, raising energy efficiency and CCS will also be launched.

Moreover, the new FME portfolio harmonises well with the Government’s five priority areas for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The centres will be established for a period of maximum eight years (5 + 3). A mid-term evaluation of each centre will determine whether to extend a centre’s allocations beyond its initial five-year funding period.

The first eight FME centres were established in 2009 and have now reached their final year of operation. Another three FME centres for social science research were started in 2011 and will be concluded in 2018.

In this funding round, a total of 13 Norwegian research communities competed for status as an FME centre.



Norwegian CCS Research Centre

Host institution: SINTEF Energy Research AS

The NCCS centre will focus its research activities on CCS (CO2 capture, transport and storage). The NCCS centre is a national and international CCS partnership between operators, suppliers and researchers joining forces to help to realise full-scale CCS projects and make the North Sea the site of European CO2 storage. This would help to achieve major cuts in global CO2 emissions.

8 research partners, 25 user partners

Norwegian Research Centre for Hydropower Technology

Host institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

This FME centre will develop hydropower technology for the future and new solutions for utilising flexible hydropower. Centre activities will work towards doubling value creation in Norway’s hydropower sector by 2050.

6 research partners, 31 user partners

Norwegian Centre for Sustainable Bio-based Fuels and Energy

Host institution: Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)

The centre will develop technology for second-generation biofuels. One objective of the centre is to achieve as much as a 30 per cent reduction in production costs compared to current cost levels. Biofuels may represent a vital contribution to cutting CO2 emissions in the transport sector.

8 research partners, 40 user partners

Centre for Intelligent Electricity Distribution

Host institution: SINTEF Energy Research AS

The centre will work towards digitalising and modernising the electricity grid for higher efficiency, flexibility and reliability. The objective is to enable the grid to handle interactions between smart grid customers, electric transport, solar power facilities and other renewable forms of energy.

4 research partners, 26 user partners

Centre for an Energy Efficient and Competitive Industry for the Future

Host institution: SINTEF Energy Research AS

The centre will work towards raising energy efficiency in industry, with partners from the entire spectrum of Norwegian trade and industry. The main objective is to develop technologies that can reduce the industrial sector’s specific energy use by 20–30 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent.

7 research partners, 36 user partners

Research Centre for Sustainable Solar Cell Technology

Host institution: Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)

The centre’s objective is to contribute to growth and development of the Norwegian solar cell industry. Production of silicon-based solar cells will be at the core of the centre’s activities. The centre will be developing the world’s most environment-friendly processes for solar-grade silicon production, while at the same time working towards cost-effective growth in utilising solar cells in Norway.

6 research partners, 15 user partners

Mobility Zero Emission Energy Systems

Host institution: Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)

This FME centre will focus its activities on energy for the transport sector, developing technology for the use of hydrogen and batteries in both land and sea transport. At the same time the centre will work with instruments and business models for zero-emission transport.

7 research partners, 38 user partners

The Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities

Host institution: NTNU

The centre will work towards solutions for zero-emission zones in smart cities. More efficient use of energy and the production and utilisation of renewable energy will benefit the local environment as well as help to achieve Norwegian climate targets. The centre will be a hub of cooperation for municipalities, trade and industry, government authorities and researchers – all working together closely on the planning, development and operation of local zones with no greenhouse gas emissions.

3 research partners, 32 user partners

(Translation by: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann)